Afternoon Headlines July 7, 2017

Voters in Colorado who want to keep their personal information including address, birth year, and party registration from Donald Trump’s presidential commission on voter fraud have the option of unregistering to vote – as long as they do so before July 14.

That’s when the Secretary of State’s office will be sending its voter roll information to Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, says the office’s spokesperson. Voters who unregister can re-register.

But while that’s an option, it’s not a good one, says elections watchers like Elena Nunez of Colorado Common Cause, and, she says, it might be just what some on Trump’s voter panel want: Fewer voters on the rolls.

“I think it’s a tragic reaction to a commission that’s trying to make it more difficult to vote to have people choose to disenfranchise themselves potentially,” Nunez told The Colorado Independent when she heard voters where considering such an option. And they are. In Boulder County, local elections workers are keeping a running tally on sticky notes around the office of voters who have come in to either un-register or to become what is known as a confidential voter. “I think there’s confusion over what’s getting released,” a Boulder elections spokeswoman said.

Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, sought to tamp down that confusion during a news conference Wednesday. He said Colorado would only release to Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity what is public under the state’s laws.

President Trump has claimed, without evidence, that the reason he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton last November is because three to five million people voted illegally. He formed the commission to unearth voter and voter registration fraud, he said. Williams is one of the few Secretaries of State in the country who has not cast doubt on the goals and aims of the commission and said he was glad a federal panel wanted input from the states.

In the 90-plus degree heat Thursday, protesters from ADAPT rallied at Skyline Park against Republican Sen. Cory Gardner’s stance on the U. S. Senate’s health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

About 200 people gathered in front of Gardner’s office to hear speakers, listen to music and to urge Gardner to act against the bill. In partnership with disability organizations like Personal Assistance Services of Colorado and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, the rally was a part of ongoing efforts by ADAPT to campaign against the BCRA.

After the rally, protesters marched to Broadway and Colfax to celebrate the anniversary of ADAPT’s 1978 bus blockade. ADAPT’s 1978 protest forced RTD to make buses more wheelchair accessible. ADAPT members are still protesting for the rights of the disabled community 39 years later.
The protest and rally continue ADAPT’s recent efforts to engage Gardner about health care. After being arrested and held for 30 hours last week, many ADAPT members returned to protest, including sisters Hope Moseley and Dawn Russell, who spoke at the rally.

Other speakers included Democratic Reps. Joe Salazar and Leslie Herod. Herod, the first African-American LGBT individual elected to the Colorado legislature, spoke against the party politics driving Gardner. Herod also emphasized the importance of health care and bipartisan efforts against the BCRA.

“This isn’t about partisan politics, it’s about people’s lives,” said Lucinda Rowe of PASCO, who introduced her daughter Estreya. She referred to Estreya as her “miracle baby”and spoke of the importance of fighting for Medicaid.

Disability rights activist and attorney Carrie Ann Lucas today announced that she will be running for Town Board in her hometown of Windsor, saying that she intends to focus on managing the booming northern Colorado community’s growth.

Lucas was among the 10 protesters from the Denver-based ADAPT disability rights group arrested last week after a 59-hour sit-in at Sen. Cory Gardner’s Denver office. Protesters vowed to remain in Gardner’s office until the senator vowed to vote against the Republican Senate healthcare bill, which they say would bring devastating cuts to crucial Medicaid services.

During the sit-in, Lucas used Facebook to livestream from inside the office. That “Camp Gardner” livestream now has over 359,000 views. She is the founder of the nonprofit Disabled Parents Rights, and practices juvenile law. She has a degenerative neuromuscular disease.

Lucas is featured on The Colorado Independent’s podcast this week, where she talks about what the Senate bill would mean for disabled Americans and why she was willing to get arrested to fight against it.

She also told The Colorado Independent that she just finished a six-month training with Emerge Colorado, an organization that seeks and trains women to run for office. That training, she says, has given her “that toolbox, that support, and the networking to make [running for office] possible … it really is the power of women to change the world.”

The election for Windsor’s sixth Town Board member will be held in April.

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